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, 109 (3), 253-258

Vascular Aging and Arterial Stiffness

[Article in English, Portuguese]

Vascular Aging and Arterial Stiffness

[Article in English, Portuguese]
Luana de Rezende Mikael et al. Arq Bras Cardiol.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) account annually for almost one third of all deaths worldwide. Among the CVD, systemic arterial hypertension (SAH) is related to more than half of those outcomes. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is an independent risk factor for SAH because it causes functional and structural damage to the arterial wall, leading to stiffness. Several studies have related oxidative stress, production of free radicals, and neuroendocrine and genetic changes to the physiopathogenesis of vascular aging. Indirect ways to analyze that aging process have been widely studied, pulse wave velocity (PWV) being considered gold standard to assess arterial stiffness, because there is large epidemiological evidence of its predictive value for cardiovascular events, and it requires little technical knowledge to be performed. A pulse wave is generated during each cardiac contraction and travels along the arterial bed until finding peripheral resistance or any bifurcation point, determining the appearance of a reflected wave. In young individuals, arteries tend to be more elastic, therefore, the reflected wave occurs later in the cardiac cycle, reaching the heart during diastole. In older individuals, however, the reflected wave occurs earlier, reaching the heart during systole. Because PWV is an important biomarker of vascular damage, highly valuable in determining the patient's global cardiovascular risk, we chose to review the articles on vascular aging in the context of cardiovascular risk factors and the tools available to the early identification of that damage.

Conflict of interest statement

Potential Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Pathophysiology of vascular aging.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Blood pressure curve with description of its major components. AI: Augmentation Index; MBP: Mean Blood Pressure.

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